Monday, October 15, 2007

The Hungarians in Romania

I took the train from Budapest to Oradea in Romania today. Crazy, it is much more expensive to get an international ticket in Hungary, almost double the price of a domestic ticket. So, I was trying to cheat for the cheap fare by taking the train to a border town (that's Kotegyan) near Romania in Hungary, and get a ticket to Oradea from Kotegyan. But no way, they will still charge you an expensive price to get a ticket Kotegyan-Oradea. So Budapest-Kotegyan (4 hours' journey) I have paid about 10 Euro, and Kotegyan-Oradea (1 hour's journey) I have paid about 10 Euro too. Have only managed to save about 5 Euro this way compared to getting the ticket to Oradea in Budapest. Upset.

Romania, sure you are in Romania? So I came to the hostel, and the guy who runs the hostel told me he is a Hungarian living in Oradea. Okay, I remember the hostel guy in Budapest were telling me he is a Hungarian borned in Transylvania. Now, the Oradea guy, James, is telling me everything above Transylvania is Hungary and not Romania. It actually used to be before WW I and perhaps the Hungarians still think it is. You can get around without any problem here if you only speaks Hungarian.

Is there any difference from the outlook of a Hungarian and a Romanian? I asked him. Yeah, of course, and you will be able to tell after spending about half a day walking on the street. Go try and have fun with the 'identifying' game and tell me if you could tell the difference tomorrow, he said. I told him I want to go to South Bucovina to see the painted monasteries but he has not been there. He is familiar with almost every corner of the "Hungarian Romania" but not "Romania".

500 years ago there is no Romanian here in Transylvania, he said. And until 200 years ago perhaps there are a few Romanians. And now more are coming. And Cluj-Napoca has became a very unpleasant town since then ... "It is alright to drink the tap water here. But I wouldn't do that in Bucharest."

Oradea 13/10/2007

No comments: